The bandages fall away to reveal the face of a man who died over 2500 years ago.What did death mean to the ancient Egyptians? Why did they mummify the bodies of the dead?Why did they want to preserve the appearance of life in their dead for all eternity? These all are the questions which I will try to answer through my blog on mummies.
When you think of the world mummy what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Well to meet of us a mummy would simply mean an Egyptian dead body wrapped in bandages, buried deep inside a pyramid.Well, actually a mummy is nothing but the body of a person that has been preserved after death. The word mummy come from the Arabic word, mumiyaha, which means “bitumen” and it is believed to have preservative value. While the Egyptian ones are the most famous, mummies have been found in many places throughout the world, from Greenland to China to the Andes mountains of South America.
The ancient Egyptians believed that mummifying a person’s body after death was essential to ensure a safe passage to the afterlife. The Egyptians believed that every person was composed of three essential elements: body, ba, and ka.
The body is the physical body and is unique to each individual. As a person gets older, the body ages and changes and death is the last change.
In more recent years, CT scanning has become an invaluable tool in the study of mummification by allowing researchers to digitally “unwrap” mummies without risking damage to the body.The level of detail in such scans is so intricate that small linens used in tiny areas such as the nostrils can be digitally reconstructed in 3-D.Such modelling has been utilized to perform digital autopsies on mummies to determine cause of death and lifestyle, such as in the case of Tutankhamun.
Mummies are typically divided into one of two distinct categories: anthropogenic or spontaneous. Anthropogenic mummies were deliberately created by the living for any number of reasons, the most common being for religious purposes. Spontaneous mummies, such as Otzi were created unintentionally due to natural conditions such as extremely dry heat or cold, or anaerobic conditions such as those found in bogs. While most individual mummies exclusively belong to one category or the other.
The use of mummies as fuel for locomotives was documented by Mark Twain but the truth of the story remains debatable. During the American Civil War, mummy wrapping linens were said to have been used to manufacture paper.
Evidence for the reality of these claims is still equivocal.